August 27 (Freitag) - I just learned the other day that they operate those huge cranes by remote control. Amazing!
Susan arrives from San Francisco today. When it came time for us to go to the airport to meet her, it was pouring, so we hailed a taxi. By the time we got there, of course, the rain had stopped. We thought we were going to be late because according to the schedule she gave Robb, her plane was due in around 09h45, but she was still in Customs when we got there. When we went out to get the taxi back to the hotel, it was pouring again.
We had all skipped breakfast, so we walked over to the bahnhof. We went up to the Cosmopolitan where they were having a mid-day brunch. I don't normally eat lunch, but the spread they had laid out was just too wonderful to pass up. I'm not even sure what I had, but it was so good. And then we had dessert. I sampled four different things, the only thing I actually recognised was the flan and it was the best I've had in some time. I won't even discuss how much Robb and Susan ate, but oye! Somehow, Susan managed to meet Sylvia Buck, the Reservation and Event Assistant at the Cosmo, who also manages the Hot Club in Sachsenhausen. They had quite a conversation which ended with us making a 'date' to go to the club in the evening.
We were going to go to the Zeil, but I talked them into coming back to the hotel which turned out to be a great idea, because once we got back, everyone realized how tired they were. Susan was especially tired after the long flight.
After the huge brunch, no one could even think about eating more, so we went down to the hotel bar with the intent of having one drink and then heading to the club. As usual, it didn't work out that way. Susan and Apo hit it off immediately because she is a wine consultant, and in fact has set up some kind of winery thing for us in Spain. Also at the bar was a youngish guy from India (Arun) with whom we became companions and drinking buddies. Apo generously gave us all a Kir Royal. He almost left out Arun, but I asked, "What about our friend?", and he included him in the mix. For all you people who think the world is in deep trouble because of human destruction and waste, you'll be pleased to know Arun is one of you. After the Kir Royal, Apo treated us to a grappas-type drink that he makes for "special people" (his phrase). We felt privileged to be included in that group. We also met the guy who will be the restaurant chef, when and if the restaurant ever opens.
Anyway, with all that going on, it was after 22h00 when we finally left for the Hot Club. I went reluctantly because it was already late and the construction crew would be waking us bright and early, and also because I wasn't sure I could handle a late night trek. Add to that the fact that we only had a very general idea of where the place was located.
But we trudged down to the tram station, caught the 16 to the Sudbahnhof (South train station) and hopped aboard the 14 tram to the general area of the club. The first thing we did was approach some people and ask directions to the street. They obligingly pointed us in the right direction and we sat off. We walked quite a bit and still hadn't found the street, so we stopped a group of young guys and girls and with the help of their smartphones and GPS, we found the street and the club.
The club was somewhat disappointing because we had heard that it was a happening place, but in fact it was a tiny place with only a few customers. But Sylvia welcomed us warmly, remembering us from earlier in the day, and we had a very nice time.
Sometime after midnight, we grabbed a taxi back to the hotel.
August 28 (Samtag) - Up at the crack of dawn (Okay, around 09h00). Did our morning stuff and went to breakfast. Abdul informed us that Susan had already been there asking about us. I guess she's an early person.
The first thing on our agenda today, was to go back to the club to get my glasses that had fallen out of my jacket (just like they had when we returned from Paris last January). I called last night and they told me they had found them and I could retrieve them today. We discovered that if we had stayed on the tram for one more stop, we wouldn't have to walk for miles. We got to the club okay, but it was closed and wouldn't open until 18h00.
On our way back to the tram, we stopped at a tiny little coffee shop, run by a woman who had just taken it over two weeks ago. She, like most of the people here, was super nice. She even treated us to a cake she had just taken from the oven because she said she wanted our opinion. It was delicious, we told her and she was pleased. Susan is a super gregarious type. She will talk to anyone and everyone and within minutes they are old friends. So we chatted for quite some time.
Since we were on Sachsenhauser Ufer, and there are about thirteen museums of various kinds within a small area, we decided to catch the 46 bus and go to the main art museum. Unfortunately, the Frankfurt Yacht Klub was having a big party of some sort and the 46 was not stopping at any of the stops to which we wanted to go. I said it couldn't be that far, and if we walked slowly, it would not be a problem so we sat off. The first place to which we came was the Ikonen Museum (the building that looks like a church) at which we found that the two main museums to which we wanted to go (the Städel and the Deutsches Architekturmuseum) were closed until next year. The Ikonen was all religious paintings, sculptures and engravings from Russian artists and a few by Italian artists.
We left there and walked to the Portikus Museum, on an island in the middle of the Main River, which is supposed to be modern art by the students at the Städel, but it was in the process of being renovated, so we saw nothing, but I did get a nice shot of the Ikonen from a window in the stairwell. We crossed over to the other side of the river. Susan went to the Jewish Museum, while Robb and I walked to the Birmingham Pub ad drank a couple of biers while eating great French fries. A little over an hour later, Susan showed up. She drank a glass of white wine. Robb and I had another bier.
Since it was just up the street, we walked to the Zeil because they both wanted to go to a store named New Yorker. Susan had a friend who had bought some low-rise jeans there and she was enamored of them. We spent quite a long time in the store, during which Robb and I had to make a run to the toilets in MyZeil, just across the walkway. We returned and Robb bought a couple scarves. I found a great jacket with pockets that zipper, so no more lost glasses for me.
We left the Zeil. Susan insisted on going to a concert at the Ikonen, Robb and I, knowing how cold it was going to be, caught the 12 tram back to Baseler Platz, where we caught the 16 to the Südbahnhof. There we hopped aboard the 14 and rode to Frankensteiner Platz. We walked to the Hot Club, I got my glasses and we walked to the Frankfurt Hard Rock Cafe. It was a huge disappointment and probably the worst Hard Rock Cafe we've ever entered. Our purpose had been to buy a T-shirt, but they had no souvenirs at all. We walked to the tram station and, while we were sitting there freezing our asses off, theBier Bike came by. As usual, it was full of drunken revelers. Our tram finally arrived and we made the trip back to the hotel.
We waited until 21h30 for Susan, finally determining that she was either not coming or had gotten lost. I left a note on her door and we went to Gaylord India Restaurant, figuring if she did show up, that would be the easiest place for her to find. We had barely been served when she arrived. The concert had been longer that any of us had anticipated and there was some kind of wine and snack thing afterwards. It would have been nice if Robb and I could have gone, but there was no way we could have stood the cold.
August 29 (Sonntag) - It was after 10h00 when we awoke to a very cold Frankfurt. We got ourselves ready to go and called Susan, who said she would join us in the breakfast room. The breakfast room was freezing because Abdul had the door to the kitchen open and there was a rather stiff breeze blowig through. When we got down to Robb's last cup of coffee, we took his stuff and went into the bar where it was a little warmer. Susan never did show up until we had already been back in our room for a while.
Today, she and Robb are going to a museum. I had been planning to ride the 14 tram end to end and that's what I'm doing. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that she and Robb can go out and do things while I stay behind and try to find some energy, but I am not going to give up doing the things we had planned.
So I did my tram trek and had a really good time. It's actually somewhat better to travel on the trams as a single because you're pretty much assured a seat.
We had all agreed to go to the concert at the Ikonen Museum (Robb and Susan had been wrong about it being outside. In their defense, it did say Open Air Koncert.) which began at 17h00 and it was already 16h00. Instead of completing the 14 ride, I got off and jumped on the 11, because I figured it would get me back to the hotel faster. As the tram was sitting across the street from the Birmingham Pub, Robb called and asked me to meet them at Willy Brandt Platz. That was cool because it was only two stops away. I got off the tram and to my surprise they got off the same tram. They were only a car ahead of me. We walked down to the river and made a right to the Jüdisches Museum. We toured that, then Robb and I headed for the Ikonen while Susan went to get some pictures that she and Robb had made at another place.
The concert at the Ikonen was very good and I videoed a couple minutes of the pianist accompanying a baritone singing Shumann. The picture sucks, but the sound seems to be okay. That was followed by a very good quartet. The next part of the concert was all compositions by Chopin. They started with one of my favorite nocturnes. Then the pianist rejoined the quartet. They did several numbers and then a cute female soprano. All in all, it was well worth the cost of admission. Okay, that was kind of an inside joke, because the cost of all the museums today was covered by the €4 we paid for admission to the Ikonen yesterday. We got a button that would serve as our pass (it's a good thing I didn't just toss it into the suitcase like I normally would have done, otherwise I would have had to pay twice). Of course, at the intermission between the Shumann and Chopin, we went out to the lobby had a glass of champagne. We're going to be so spoiled when we leave Germany.
For dinner, we took a taxi to Schweiser Straße and a place named Adolf Wagner. It was super crodwed and we even ran into the chinese waiter from the Cosmopolitan, who was there with his family. Needless to say, we were expecting great things, but it wasn't all that good.
When we got back to the hotel, we met a guy from California (Dave) who had just arrived in Frankfurt this afternoon. We had a nice chat with him about his travels. It seems he and his friends have just about covered every part of Europe. He said they were going to Berlin in a day or so and then to Paris. Part of traveling is the fun of meeting others regardless from which country they originate.
You can see all the Frankfurt pictures below (there are a lot of pictures which I haven't included in the entries).